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Clinical Scenario: Dorsiflexion range of motion is an important factor in the performance of the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT). While patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) commonly experience decreased reach distances on the SEBT, ankle joint mobilization has been suggested to be an effective therapeutic intervention for targeting dorsiflexion range of motion. Clinical Question: What is the evidence to support ankle joint mobilization for improving performance on the SEBT in patients with CAI? Summary of Key Findings: The literature was searched for articles examining the effects of ankle joint mobilization on scores of the SEBT. A total of 3 peer-reviewed articles were retrieved, 2 prospective individual cohort studies and 1 randomized controlled trial. Only 2 articles demonstrated favorable results following 6 sessions of ankle joint mobilization. Clinical Bottom Line: Despite the mixed results, the majority of the available evidence suggests that ankle joint mobilization improves dynamic postural control. Strength of Recommendation: In accordance with the Centre of Evidence Based Medicine, the inconsistent results and the limited high-quality studies indicate that there is level C evidence to support the use of ankle joint mobilization to improve performance on the SEBT in patients with CAI.
Kosik and Gribble are with the Dept of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.